Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated November 22, 2022

Get details about nursing schools in Georgia, the state licensing process, earning potential, and what it's like to work in the state.
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Georgia is known for its friendly people, Southern hospitality, and low cost of living. It also offers great opportunities for nurses. Projections Central projects a 18.1% increase in demand for registered nurses (RNs) by 2030, which is much higher than the national average.

This guide can help you decide if pursuing nursing education and a career in the Peach State is right for you. Explore how to get a state license, earning potential, and details about the top nursing schools in Georgia, including those that can prepare you for a career as a nurse practitioner (NP).

Keep reading to learn more about the top nursing schools and programs in Georgia.

The Best Nursing Schools in Georgia

Georgia is home to an array of nursing education options, such as large state universities, local community colleges, and private colleges of all sizes. To help you identify the ideal program for your needs and goals, we've compiled the following list of the best nursing schools in the state.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Georgia, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

#1 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Emory University

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Emory, sponsored by the United Methodist Church, has earned top rankings for its liberal arts and professional programs. Its Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing offers undergraduate and graduate programs, including accelerated BSN and master of nursing pre-licensure programs. 

Most students in this Georgia nursing program fulfill their clinical requirements at affiliated and local hospitals in the Atlanta area. Enrollees in distance-based accelerated programs receive clinical assignments near their residences.

Average Tuition
In-state
$53,070
Out-of-state
$53,070
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
14,415
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Berry College

  • Mount Berry, GA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Established in 1902 in the foothills of the Appalachians, Berry is a nondenominational Christian school serving a student body of approximately 2,000. Its 124-credit bachelor of science in nursing features internships in critical care and high-intensity units, along with clinical experiences with vulnerable populations. All students in this Georgia nursing school participate in cross-cultural immersions between their junior and senior years.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,020
Out-of-state
$37,020
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
2,034
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

  • Rome, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

As part of the Technical College System of Georgia, GNTC serves nine counties across the northwestern region of the state. Its 42-credit associate of science degree in nursing prepares graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as a registered nurse. GNTC also offers an LPN-to-ADN program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,616
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

South Georgia Technical College

  • Americus, GA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Established in 1948, this residential technical college administers over 200 associate degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates at its Americus or Crisp Country Center campuses. SGTC's nursing diploma prepares students to take the NCLEX exam and pursue licensure as practical nurses. The college also offers nurse aid technical certificates and patient care technical certificates.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,000
Out-of-state
$6,000
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,117
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Ogeechee Technical College

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

This division of the Technical College System of Georgia began operations in 1986. Ogeechee Tech offers a healthcare assistant certificate, a nurse aid certificate, and a practical nursing diploma that emphasizes evidence-based healthcare practices while preparing students to pass the NCLEX-PN exam. This Georgia nursing program provides students with ample support services, including a success lab, academic enrichment center, and counseling center.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,079
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Georgia College & State University

  • Milledgeville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Begun as a women’s college in 1889, Georgia College evolved into a public liberal arts university serving more than 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges. Its bachelor of science in nursing builds on the liberal arts and sciences core curriculum to prepare enrollees to pursue licensure as registered nurses. This nursing school in Georgia also offers online MSN and DNP degrees.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,508
Out-of-state
$26,688
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
7,031
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Southern Crescent Technical College

  • Griffin, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Serving eight counties in the south Atlanta region, Southern Crescent delivers workforce training at the associate degree, diploma, and certificate levels. The 69-credit associate of science in nursing program prepares graduates for RN licensure. The college also offers nurse aide and patient care technical certifications that do not require a high school diploma or GED.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,246
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Wesleyan College

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Wesleyan has been a pioneer in education for women since its beginnings in 1836. Its 120-credit bachelor of science in nursing degree emphasizes evidence-based practice as the foundation for nursing care. Students in this Georgia nursing program benefit from a state-of-the-art simulation lab, a pediatric intensive care unit, and a medication dispensing system.

Average Tuition
In-state
$22,770
Out-of-state
$22,770
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
44%
Students Enrolled
797
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Mercer enrolls more than 9,000 students in 12 schools and colleges, including its Georgia nursing school. Its Georgia Baptist School of Nursing offers several degree options at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) features a pre-licensure track for students without RN licensure, a second degree accelerated BSN track, and an RN-to-BSN completion track.

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,528
Out-of-state
$25,528
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
8,740
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Georgia State University

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

This regarded public research institution enrolls more than 52,000 students in six campuses throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region. Georgia State's school of nursing offers undergraduate, master's, and doctorate degrees. Its bachelor of science in nursing, ideal for first-time nursing students, features a state-of-the-art simulation lab and clinical experiences in hospitals, clinics, and community settings.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,158
Out-of-state
$22,389
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
35,041
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Georgia Nurse Practitioner Programs

#1 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Emory University

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Description:

Emory University offers some of the best Georgia nurse practitioner programs, including adult-gerontology acute and primary care, family, neonatal, pediatric acute and primary care, women's health/gender-related, and psychiatric mental health. Most programs require approximately 700 clinical hours. Emory arranges for clinical placement at more than 500 locations across the country. The programs emphasize global thinking and service learning. Format, on-campus and online requirements, and program length vary by track. 

Details:

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing (MSN) - adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; MSN - adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner; MSN - women's health/gender related nurse practitioner; MSN - psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; doctor of nursing practice; post-graduate certificate
  • Campus: Atlanta, GA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,963 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing; current and unencumbered Georgia or multistate RN license; one year of RN experience; two references
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $100,571 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$53,070
Out-of-state
$53,070
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
14,415
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Mercer University is part of the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. Mercer's master of science in nursing - adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program's 2017-2019 first-attempt board pass rate was 98%. The program requires 47 credits and 600 clinical hours for completion. Each of the first three terms comprise 13-14 credit hours, and the final term is seven credit hours. The curriculum emphasizes integrating the liberal arts and Christian values. 

Details:

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing - adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Macon, GA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $10,126 per 9-14 semester hours
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA; current and unencumbered Georgia RN license; one year of RN experience; three references
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.2%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $90,856 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$25,528
Out-of-state
$25,528
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
8,740
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Georgia Southern University

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Georgia Southern University's adult-gerontology acute care, 

adult-gerontology primary care, family, and psychiatric mental health programs are all available as certificate, master of science in nursing (MSN), or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs. Students who graduate with an MSN can return for the DNP program within four years. The MSN option requires 43 credits and 720 clinical hours for completion. Programs are primarily offered online but require short (2-3-day) on campus sessions each semester. 

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN; DNP; post-graduate certificate (adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Statesboro, GA
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $277 per credit hour for MSN students; $389 for DNP students
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with 3.0 GPA; "C" grade in undergraduate statistics and in assessment; current and unencumbered Georgia RN license; Level C (two person-BLS) CPR certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,425
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
26,054
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

University of North Georgia

  • Dahlonega, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

The University of North Georgia's family nurse practitioner program is available as both a master of science in nursing and a post-graduate certificate. Students can choose from a two- or three-year option. Classes meet just one day per week on either Tuesday or Thursday. The program ends with a research project in evidence-based care. The 2020 board examination pass rate was 100%, with a 92% first-time pass rate.

Details:

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner; post-graduate family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Dahlonega, GA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $286 per credit for Georgia residents; $1060 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with 3.0 GPA; current and unencumbered Georgia RN license; CPR certification; one year work experience as an RN (recommended)
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.7%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $93,923 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,898
Out-of-state
$13,851
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
19,748
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Kennesaw State University

  • Kennesaw, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Kennesaw State University's family nurse practitioner program offers all classes on alternate weekends, accommodating working students. The program includes 40 credit hours and 630 clinical hours. Students must earn at least a "B" in each class and may repeat a class only once. This is the shortest family nurse practitioner program in Georgia. The most recent reported board pass rate is 98%.

Details:

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Kennesaw, GA
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $296 per credit for Georgia residents; $1,066 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with 3.0 GPA; one year of nursing experience (direct patient care within the last five years); current and unencumbered Georgia nursing license; two references
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 15 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.5%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $93,224 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,450
Out-of-state
$15,704
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
37,807
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs

Brenau University

  • Gainesville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Brenau University's master of science in nursing program is available on either a 20-month or 36-month track. Students complete 50 credit hours and take two courses each semester. Learners can choose a hybrid or an online-only coursework option. The program encourages a global and environmentally sustainable perspective on nursing. The nursing school is in the initial accreditation process for its doctor of nursing practice program. 

Details:

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Gainesville, GA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $785 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with 3.0 GPA; current and unencumbered Georgia RN license; one year of experience as an RN; undergraduate assessment and statistics classes; three references; GRE scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 20 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.2% 
Average Tuition
In-state
$29,370
Out-of-state
$29,370
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
2,817
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Georgia

There are dozens of nursing schools in Georgia, including some of the top-ranked programs in the country. However, you should consider several factors when choosing where to apply.

Look at program curriculum and length, the availability of both in-person and online nursing school requirements, and clinical details, such as available clinical placement assistance. Tuition and financial aid options are also important considerations.

Nursing students may qualify for federal student aid. Georgia's HOPE Programs offer scholarship and grant assistance to qualified students, but learners should look at nursing financial aid options specific to the program as well.

To become a licensed nurse in Georgia, you must complete a program approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing. Accreditation for nursing programs is important because it ensures that all nurses in the state have been trained to the same standards and that nursing programs adequately prepare graduates for safe, effective practice.

If you choose a program not board approved, you will not qualify for a nursing license in Georgia.

Why Become a Nurse in Georgia

Becoming a nurse in Georgia offers many advantages. In addition to plenty of job opportunities and competitive salaries, Georgia has some policies that might make it attractive to nurses.

For example, nurses do not have to join a nurses' union to gain employment, as Georgia is a right-to-work state. Georgia also upholds the Family Care Act, also known as the Kin Care Law. This allows employees to use paid sick leave to care for immediate family members, not just themselves.

Georgia is a Nurse Licensure Compact state, meaning licensed nurses here are authorized to work in 30 other compact states. Nurses who wish to work in Georgia, but have licenses from noncompact states, can get a Georgia license by endorsement.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Georgia

Nurses in Georgia earn an average salary of $71,510, slightly less than the national median earnings of $75,330, according to the BLS. Nurse practitioners also earn less than the national average in the Peach State, with an average salary of $106,620, compared to the national median of $111,670.

Although RN pay ranks 29th in the nation, and NP pay comes in 40th, the cost of living here is also one of the lowest in the United States. Georgia ranks 48th on the cost-of-living index, and housing is among the most affordable in the nation.

Demand for RNs between 2018 and 2028 is projected to increase by 22.5%, much higher than the national average of 9%. Demand for nurse practitioners should increase slower than the national average. However, at 41.4% projected growth, demand for NPs is still very high. The BLS projects a continued nursing shortage through 2030.

It's no surprise that Georgia's largest metropolitan area, Atlanta, is also its highest-paying city. Atlanta is home to five of the state's highest-ranked hospitals, including two Magnet hospitals. However, Georgia nurses can also earn competitive salaries in smaller cities and rural regions.

The table below details the top five highest-paying metro areas.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Georgia
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Average Salary for RNs
Atlanta — Sandy Springs — Roswell $80,760
Athens — Clarke County $73,370
Augusta — Richmond County $72,420
Rome $70,320
Hinesville $65,510
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Georgia

The Georgia Board of Nursing oversees all nurse credentialing. The board also sets nursing regulations and education requirements. The following is an overview of the general processes for licensure as an RN or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

RN Requirements

As in all states which have RN requirements, nurses in Georgia are required to be licensed before practicing. Licensure requires completing an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Georgia allows nurses to apply for licensure online or by paper application. If you earn your degree from an out-of-state nursing school, you must submit a paper application. Graduates of in-state nursing programs can apply online without submitting transcripts, as those are automatically sent to the Georgia Board of Nursing by the school.

Before submitting your application, register for the NCLEX exam with Pearson Vue and COGENT (the state background check service). The application fee is $40. Most applications are processed in 15 days, but there may be a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

APRN Requirements

To become an APRN in Georgia, you'll need a master of science in nursing or doctor of nursing practice. The Georgia Board of Nursing requires applicants to hold a valid Georgia RN license and submit verification of active national certification in their specialty.

If you've never been licensed as an APRN in any state, you'll also need to submit transcripts showing a completed graduate program.

If you're licensed in another state and seeking your first Georgia APRN license, you have the option to submit documentation of 500 hours of practice if you completed your graduate program more than four years ago.

To apply for an APRN license, submit a paper application; there is no online option. The fee is $75.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Georgia


How long does it take to become a nurse in Georgia?

Depending on the degree type (ADN or BSN), it takes 2-4 years to become a nurse in Georgia. Both degrees qualify you to take the NCLEX. However, some employers, including Magnet hospitals, require RNs to hold a BSN.

Is Georgia state good for nursing?

Overall, Georgia consistently ranks among the top states for nurses. The Department of Health and Human Services identifies Georgia as a state that will have a significant nursing shortage by 2030, so nurses can find many job options.

Although salaries are moderate compared to other states, they are offset by the low cost of living. The pleasant climate, safe neighborhoods, and overall quality of life also make this an attractive place to live.

How do I become a nurse in Georgia?

To become a nurse in Georgia, earn an ADN or a BSN degree and pass the NCLEX to qualify for a license issued by the Georgia Board of Nursing. If you already hold a license from a Nursing Compact state, you can apply for a license by endorsement.

How often do you need to renew your nursing license in Georgia?

Georgia requires nurses to renew their licenses every two years. All licenses expire on January 31. For example, a license issued or renewed in 2021 will expire on January 31, 2023. Nurses must complete one of five continuing education/competency options for nurses to qualify for renewal.

Related Resources

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